Earth mother (aka) Nell Marsh began her ministry in the late 1960’s or the early 70’s. She began her work for the Lord by going to a park and passing out sandwiches to hippies. She later began visiting prisoners sharing the Gospel with them.
I first met Earth Mother not long after I was born-again. I had spent the night with a friend and taken a powerful drug — THC, and the effects would not wear off. The next day, I was still hallucinating and on the edge of freaking out. I had one Christian friend at the time. The friend who prayed me out of the darkness and Occult and prayed me into the Kingdom of Light. Not wanting to go home because of fear my parents would find out I was higher than a kite, I called this friend. She came and picked me up and took me to meet Earth Mother.
At the time, Earth Mother had two houses. One for men and one for women. My friend took me to the women’s house. We pulled up on the street and I see this grey haired woman come walking down the sidewalk from the house with one of the most sincere smiles I had ever seen. She radiated. Immediatedly I felt uncomfortable. I expected judgment. She gave me none. Instead she welcomed me and asked me to come in. Reluctantly, I walked behind her still hallucinating, seeing flashes of water being splashed in my face.
We enter the house and I meet other young woman. Women who had decided to live there. They were telling me how wonderful it was, how being in the house had changed their life. Being with other believers, being fed the Word of God, learning how to pray, etc. I shook my head as if I understood. But I did not. This was the most intimidating thing I had come across! More intimidating than the bikers I got some dope off one time who I had gone back to and told them I wanted my money back cause their dope wasn’t any good! You should have seen their faces. I didn’t know if they were going to throw me out or what. But I did get my money back. More intimidating than going somewhere with a strange man I had not known long, miles from nowhere to a friend of his. When we got there I felt evil in my midst. I sensed he, his friend, and a woman who were there had plans for me and it was not good. It was miles from home, out in the boonies somewhere and this man even said something along the line, “Just think, we could do anything we wanted to you and no one would know it.” Panic rose up in me but I did not allow myself to show it. I quietly began to call on God to help me. I called this man’s bluff by acting bored with what he said and put my cigarette out in the glass of whiskey he was drinking. He looked down at me and said something like, “Hey, you’re ok.” Eyeing a guitar in the room, I went on to distract them even further by saying as nonchalently as possible, “Hey, who plays the guitar here?” Turns out it was the woman and then she asked if I played. I said sure do and she offered me her guitar and I played a few songs I had written. I don’t remember much about the rest of that night. Obviously they did not kill me or anything because I’m still here. Thank you, Jesus! Then there was that awful time when I had gone out to a bar with a friend and we became seperated and she went home thinking I had left. What a mess that was. I ended up allowing myself to be driven home by two men I did not know because I was too scared to call my dad! How stupid is that?! When the driver started taking “short cuts” that did not look familiar to me at all, I was certain they were going to take me somewhere and do God knows what. I was so relieved when we finally pulled up in my driveway. I went in and my body practically collapsed out of fear. All I could do was thank God I got home safely.
Yes, meeting Earthmother and being in that house intimidated the heck out of me. It wasn’t because of anything they said or did, but because of me. I still had some areas that needed deliverance, areas of darkness in me, and that light, that wonderful beautiful all knowing Light of God was just letting me see the difference between light and dark. Even though I did not understand it at the time, I did not hate that light.
Earthmother prayed for me, talked with me. Can not remember much of the conversation, but I do remember her trying to talk me into coming to stay with them. I told her no, making all kind of excuses, giving her many reasons. I don’t remember anything else about that day, other than seeing a guitar with no strings. I left a five dollar bill so the guitar player (whoever she was) could buy some guitar strings.
That was my first meeting with Earthmother. Years later after meeting my husband-to-be, I found out he knew her. She even came to our wedding.
My father, being an upholsterer, met her and did some work for her in the house she and the young men lived in. She impressed him greatly and he told me, “Babe, she’s the real deal.” He hadn’t much liked church people up until then because of the way they treated his mother after he lost his dad at 6 years old. But when he met Earthmother he saw the real thing and from then on was more open to the Gospel.
Earthmother had the best Bible studies in the city. My husband and I sometimes would go on Friday nights and the house was full of young men who had either gotten out of prison or who had come there on their own to live. There were men there who could play instruments and they led worship. She asked me to bring my guitar and sometimes I did. We would sing and have the best time of fellowhip. Most of the time, she gave the teaching. They were always thought provoking, chocked full of the Word of God, challenging, spoken with such love you could not help believe God loved you so much through one person. Sitting there with all those young men, black and white, in search of God’s truth was a thing to behold. She fed us all nothing but the Word of God.
When she had a need of any kind, financial or other, she did not let it always be known. She simply went to her prayer closet and told the Father what she needed. Whether it was food, funds to pay the electric bill, etc. God supplied everything she needed. Sometimes right at the last minute.
She didn’t care much for the acceptance of man nor did she need man’s approval. One time, Pat Robertson from the 700 club found out about her minstry and he wanted her to come on his show. She told him no, she was too busy for that sort of thing, that she was not looking for the applause of man and that her reward was in heaven, not on this earth.
It’s even been said that Mick Jagger called her! Of course a lot of us thought how cool, Mick Jagger called Earthmother for help. I asked her about that a few years ago and she said what had happened was she had received a phone call from someone who said they were Mick Jagger. Of course she had no idea if it were really him or not. It could have been someone playing a prank or, who knows… maybe it was. Either way, it wouldn’t have mattered to her one way or the other. She did not esteem anyone higher than the next and would speak to everyone the same. I think that is just one reason we all loved her and still love her all these years. She has a way of making you feel like you matter to God no matter who you are and what you’ve done.
A long time has passed since I met this remarkable woman of God over 35 years ago. I’m much older now and Earthmother is in her 90’s by now.
I still talk to her every now and then, though it has been a while. And yes, I still call her Earthmother.
You can find a video of this beautiful woman here: